Anyone who has ever looked at a map of the United States knows the concept of a panhandle. It's an oblong section of the state that appears to jut into someone else's territory.

Perhaps most famously, Oklahoma has a panhandle. So do Florida and Maryland. West Virginia has two. Missouri comes complete with a little tail they call a bootheel.

But what about Michigan's Upper Peninsula? It's surrounded on three sides by water, yes, fitting the geographic description of a peninsula. But what if the stretch of land belonged to Wisconsin as it did before Michigan was awarded the tract in exchange for allowing Ohio to have Toledo? The fabled Toledo War was fought between the two states over the strip of land along Lake Erie. Ohio 'won' and Michigan was granted the Upper Peninsula as compensation.

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Would Michigan's Upper Peninsula have been considered the Wisconsin Panhandle?

Perhaps from a pure geographic sense, no. Apparently there is an actual scientific term for a panhandle - it's a salient.

While similar to a peninsula in shape, a salient is most often not surrounded by water on three sides. Instead, it has a land border on at least two sides and extends from the larger geographical body of the administrative unit.

Since Wisconsin is connected by land to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the UP is a peninsula of Wisconsin land despite not being owned by Wisconsin.

Still, the concept of a Michigan Panhandle is intriguing if only to adjust the state motto, if you seek a pleasant panhandle, look about you.

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